Over the next few months, I hope you’ll walk with me through my yoga journey. Like I said in my last post, I continue to wonder why anyone would want to read – what will be somewhat like – my public journal. That’s still kind of a foreign idea to me. But what I hope to do is share with you some of the things that I learn along the way. The next few months are going to be jam packed with learning. And I hope that by sharing, you will learn something new or maybe begin to explore your practice in a way you never have before.
Before moving to Berea 2 years ago, I had signed up for teacher training. Not necessarily because I wanted to teach yoga, but more because I wanted to learn more about yoga. If teaching was a byproduct, that was ok. But my first desire was simply to learn more about yoga than I could through attending classes. But that all changed when we decided to move. Teacher training went on hold indefinitely. New jobs, learning curves, travel, and no spare time hindered me from attending class on a regular basis, much less thinking about teacher training. Add to that, the fact that I was now 2 years older and 2 years stiffer. I placed yoga teacher training on the shelf titled “things I wanted to do but didn’t get around to”.
But then, as we all know now, I dove back into the world of yoga through the purchase of Broadway Bodywork. My intentions were pure. I simply didn’t want Berea to lose the studio. But as I tread through all the things I needed to do and to learn about the studio, my interest in learning more about yoga was once again piqued. I wanted to be more than just a business owner. I wanted to be invested in yoga. I wanted to be an authentic yoga studio owner. What better way to do this than to immerse myself in teacher training?
I have decided to take vacation time in June and head to North Carolina for a 3-week intensive teacher training. For me, I feel like I will learn more this way than spreading it out over months of weekends. I find that I am easily distracted these days and I know that weekly homework would have fallen into the abyss. But this way, I’ll have no other chores to do. No other responsibilities. So, I can fully immerse and fully concentrate on the matter at hand – yoga.
When I signed up, I received a very LARGE stack of books to try to read before June. These books focus on the poses, the history, and the meaning of yoga. But there are also books on alignment and anatomy. It’s February and I’m already behind in my reading goals. But I am trudging through. And learning. And I think some of this is just about opening yourself up to new things. So, the first question I have encountered is “what does yoga mean to me?”
I had to think about this. Because for many years when I started doing yoga, it was simply a physical practice of increasing flexibility. And some days today, it is still simply that. There are other days when yoga is meditation. In a recent class, I found stillness of mind coupled with movement of the body by focusing on the meditative and often melodic voice of the instructor. That was a sweet spot.
But something I read this morning resonated with me. Yoga is the practice of removing obstacles that impede the natural functioning of our systems. If this is true, then yoga can help cleanse the physical or the mental obstacles that impede functioning in the body or the mind. This book went on to say that “yoga can teach us that everything essential we need for our health and happiness is already present in our systems” (Kaminoff and Matthews, 2012). I take that to mean that this yoga journey will not only give me the tools I need to become a yoga instructor, but it will also allow me the opportunity to do some cleaning out of the body and mind.
So, I’m curious? What does yoga mean to you? Why are you doing yoga? What do you want from your practice? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to post your comments on this blog.